Penn State Hockey

Penn State men’s hockey: Nittany Lions put up tougher test but fall to Ohio State

For 20 minutes, it appeared the Penn State ice hockey team was poised for its first Big Ten victory.

The Nittany Lions were skating crisply, making the right plays, getting stellar goaltending and building a two-goal lead.

Then the Big Ten’s leading scorer began to heat up his game.

Ryan Dzingel scored once and set up the other two goals in the second period as Ohio State erased the early deficit and put away Penn State 5-2 Saturday afternoon to complete a sweep of the two-game weekend series.

Tanner Fritz, Anthony Greco, Max McCormick and Darik Angeli also hit the net for the Buckeyes (14-9-1, 4-5-1).

Dylan Richard and Casey Bailey each scored in the first period for the Nittany Lions (4-17-1, 0-8), who have lost 14 of their last 15.

Penn State returns to Pegula Ice Arena for another tough test next weekend, hosting No. 12 Michigan on Friday and Saturday.

The Nittany Lions, who had trouble putting the puck past Ohio State goalie Christian Fry on Friday night in a 5-1 loss, beat him twice in the first seven minutes.

Connor Varley intercepted an attempted clearing pass by the Buckeyes and fed it back down to Richard in the right circle. The freshman circled around and whipped a shot past Fry for his second goal of the season.

Bailey then made it 2-0 when he grabbed a rebound in the slot and fired the puck through traffic. Richard and Jacob Friedman assisted on the shorthanded tally, Bailey’s third tally of the season, two seconds after the Buckeyes went on a power play.

By the end of the first period, the Lions had a couple more solid scoring chances and a 13-6 advantage in shots.

But that ended the offensive highlights for Penn State.

Dzingel had a breakaway in the first minute of the second period, although Matthew Skoff kept the junior at bay to preserve the lead for one of his 19 saves.

But Skoff could not keep the Buckeyes quiet much longer.

A minute later Dzingel started a pretty tic-tac-toe play for Ohio State, finished by Fritz on a power play.

Fritz then fed the puck to Dzingel on another power play, with the junior blasting the shot from the point past Skoff to tie the game just 3:36 into the second period.

Ohio State had the lead with 1:07 left in the second, when Dzingel snagged an attempted clearing play by Penn State and fed the puck from the boards to the middle as Nick Oddo and Greco raced toward the net, with Greco finishing the play.

McCormick scored from the point right after carrying the puck across the blue line 1:39 into the third period, and Angeli finished the scoring with 2:27 left with an empty net score, right after Skoff went to the bench.

Fry finished with 24 saves as Penn State outshot Ohio State 26-24, the third straight game and fifth time in six games the Lions had outshot their opponents.